Latest Power BI update: share your portal with guest users

Power BI’s mission is crystal clear: extract crucial intelligence from data so companies can use it to grow or strengthen their business. The latest update to the software further amplifies this creed: Azure Active Directory Business-to-business (Azure AD B2B) is now integrated into Power BI to make sharing Power BI apps and dashboards with users outside of your organization a piece of cake. Even when they don’t have a Power BI license themselves.


The before

There are a ton of different cases were granting access to your Power BI can be useful, but for convenience’s sake consider the following scenario: you’re a manufacturer working with multiple suppliers. Your supply chain logistics could use a boost, so you plan on making a BI portal to monitor how your chain performs. Sharing it with your suppliers would help you get the maximum value out of the portal, because partners can see for themselves how everything is going.
Before the update, it was quite a hassle to get that done. You’d have to create new identities for all users at your partner organizations. They’d have to choose and remember yet another set of credentials and your governance enforcement and identity management would get a lot more complicated.

The after

With the integration of Azure Active Directory Business-to-business collaboration, this cumbersome way of inviting external people into your Power BI is a thing of the past. Guest users can get secure access to your apps and dashboards by authenticating via their own organization’s Azure Active Directory credentials.
You can grant access in two ways. Tenant admins can create a guest user through the Azure AD portal, after which the user is prompted by email to join. If you want to invite more than one user at a time through the portal, you’ll have to use PowerShell. The other way is by adding people to the access list when you publish an app. While this might be easier, guest users will need to save the link they receive in the invitation email by bookmarking it or saving the email. If they don’t, they won’t be able to return to the content you’ve shared with them.

Assigning licenses made easy

While guest users can now use their own organization’s credentials to access your Power BI apps and dashboards, they still need a license to use the software. If your partners already have Power BI Pro licenses themselves: great, you’re done. If they don’t have one, don’t worry. Partners don’t have to suddenly invest in Power BI. You can provide them with a license in two ways.
The easiest way is with Power BI Premium. If you use the app workspace in the Premium capacity, any guest user will be able to access the content without a license. Don’t have Power BI Premium? Then you can assign one of your Power BI Pro licenses to people outside of your organization. Keep in mind, however, that they’ll only be able to access the Power BI content within your tenant and can only work within the apps and dashboards you’ve shared with them.

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